Wednesday Night #2105

Written by  //  July 20, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

As much of Europe and North America is preoccupied by a heat wave of historic proportions accompanied by devastating wildfires, inevitably, Putin’s War is moving down the list of topics despite Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement on Wednesday that Moscow’s military “tasks” in Ukraine now went beyond the eastern Donbas region, in the clearest acknowledgment yet that it has expanded its war goals and beyond Ukraine’s Putin’s threats to the natural gas supply hold Europe hostage.
Russia’s Putin warns Europe gas deliveries could keep dwindling
President says if a gas turbine sent to Canada for repairs is not returned soon (where is it, Ottawa?), the daily volume delivered by Nord Stream 1 could drop significantly.
The European Commission’s strong stand may well cause cracks to appear in the alliance.
Energy ministers of the member states plan to discuss the proposed measures at an emergency meeting next week, and individual countries may even be required to yield their powers over their energy policies to Brussels.

Boris, Brexit & Britain
With Wednesday’s vote by MPs, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are left standing as the two contenders to replace Boris. After party members vote in the last round, Boris’ successor will be announced on September 5. Two considerations:
1. A bitter, unrepentant Boris Johnson will be a curse on the next prime minister, “The role of former prime minister will suit his taste for elevated status without any burden of responsibility. He can rely on Fleet Street sycophants to amplify his meddlesome pronouncements and to reinforce the myth of his tragic and premature defenestration”;
2. Whoever gets the job will take on rocketing inflation and low economic growth, as well as the public’s lack of confidence in politics after Johnson’s scandal-ridden time in power. Before Kemi Badenoch was eliminated, The Guardian pointed to polling that suggests Labour could beat any of the three at a general election.

Global economy
The Economist worries The contours of a debt crisis are starting to emerge, echoing the statement by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva that “Countries with high debt levels and limited policy space will face additional strains. Look no further than Sri Lanka as a warning sign,”
(Sri Lanka crisis is a warning to other Asian nations).

Climate change
The World Is Burning Once Again
We can only adapt so much to extreme heat.
It’s not just the U.K. Now everywhere is hot. More than 100 million Americans are currently under heat advisories or warnings. In India, a record-breaking heat wave has only recently given way to the monsoon. Parts of Central Asia are still seeing temperatures as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit. And the damage done by overlapping disasters doesn’t merely accrete linearly; it compounds.

Air travel
Complaints about airlines have surged – here’s how travel stacks up now vs before Covid
Staffing shortages. Delays. Lost luggage. Massive lines. High fares. Air travelers in 2022 have plenty to complain about. By many measures travel is worse than last year, but here’s how this year’s problems compare with before the pandemic:
Everyone has a horror story
‘It’s a mess and I’ve never seen anything like it’: global lost luggage crisis mounts
Some are calling it the summer of lost luggage as suitcases get caught in a conveyor belt-shaped vortex that only seems to grow.

Canada and Quebec
It would be nice to think that the PM and PMO are paying attention. Kevin Lynch criticizes AND offers solutions
Kevin Lynch: Federal government must better deliver core services
…critics accuse this government of being more about announcements than implementation, that it is not focussed on, or good at, delivery.
Canadian Party of Quebec announces 5 candidates
Party leader Party leader Colin Standish will run in Westmount–Saint-Louis against Liberal Jennifer Maccarone.

Deplorables news
Bannon’s fight with Jan. 6 committee spills into contempt trial
Prosecution rests after calling just two witnesses.
Heather Cox Richardson notes in her July 14 Letter from an American:
” Trump announced [Ivana’s] death on his social media network, calling her “a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life.”
At the bottom of the announcement was a button to donate to Trump’s political action committee.”

Varia
Amazing photos!
Bear photography takes great-grandmother round the world
The great-grandmother, 70, has visited Mongolia, where she walked up to 19 miles a day in -25C (-13F) conditions.
She has also travelled to the Arctic, where she was chased by a polar bear, as well as Japan and Poland.
But her favourite place is Finland where she photographs Europe’s largest predator – the brown bear.
Wildfires are threatening this 2,000-year-old sequoia. Meet the ecologist fighting to save it
The Grizzly Giant may not be the tallest or the oldest giant sequoia, but forest ecologist Garrett Dickman says it’s still one of the most famous trees in the world.
In 1903, the Grizzly Giant housed U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir under its branches, in a historic camping trip that is said to have inspired the country’s national park system.
Alan Dershowitz’s Martha’s Vineyard Cancellation
Recently, the emeritus Harvard law professor has felt shunned at his usual haunts. Is it “cancel culture,” or something else?

Long reads
Truss vs Sunak – and the choice of two very different futures for Britain
(Independent UK) On the surface, the decision is between the fiscal responsibility offered by Sunak and the immediate tax cuts promised by Truss. But this debate masks a more fundamental question: should Brexit Britain adopt the Truss vision to exploit its new freedoms by becoming a low-tax, low-regulation country which diverges from EU rules, with a “smaller state” – dubbed “Singapore-on-Thames” by Brexiteers? Or should it take the Sunak road: living within its means, balancing its books and recognising the growing demands on public services, not least from an ageing population?
Six ways to improve global supply chains
Darrell M. West (Be sure to check out this link to the author)
Sri Lanka crisis is a warning to other Asian nations
Sri Lanka is in the midst of a deep and unprecedented economic crisis that has sparked huge protests and seen its president quit after fleeing the country – but other countries could be at risk of similar troubles, according to the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Everything-Is-Weird Economy
If gas prices are plummeting, why is inflation rising? If jobs are growing, why is GDP falling? If everybody’s on vacation, why are consumers miserable?
By Derek Thompson

Entertainment for cat lovers
Gamers are obsessed with Stray – the game where you play as cat, complete with a meow button

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